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The Typikon, or Typicon (Greek: Τυπικόν, (typikon), lit. "following the order"; Slavonic: ѹставъ, (ustav)) is a liturgical book which contains instructions about the order of the various Eastern Orthodox Christian church services and ceremonies, in the form of a perpetual calendar. Those Eastern Catholic Churches that use the Byzantine rite also follow largely the same typica as their Orthodox counterparts, with minor variations.

The typikon arose within the monastic movements of the early Christian era as a way to regulate the life a monastery. Two monastic centers have influenced the services of the Eastern Orthodox Church more than any other: the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas near Jerusalem and the Monastery of St John (Studium) in Constantinople.


Typikon of Saint Savvas

The Eastern Orthodox Church recognizes the Typikon of Saint Savvas - formally Typikon of the Church Service of the Holy Lavra at Jerusalem of our God-bearing Father St. Savvas - as the standard of monastic uage. The original Typikon of Saint Savvas was developed to organize the lavra (monastic community) that Saint Savvas the Sanctified founded in Jerusalem in the year 484. It incorporated the practices and customs of existing Christian monastic communities in Palestine, Egypt, and Asia Minor, and was influenced by the Cathedral Office (services) in Jerusalem. The Typicon of Saint Savvas was expanded in the seventh and eighth centuries to include large amounts of ecclesiastical poetry. It is also sometimes called the Savvaite or Jerusalem Typicon.

Another Typikon, the Palestinian Typicon, was brought to the monasteries of Constantinople during the iconoclastic controversies of the eight century, and was adopted and expanded for use in the Monastery of Stoudios. The Monastery's synthesis incorporated additional poetry and elements of the Cathedral Office of Constantinople. In the eleventh century, the Studite usage was revised and updated. From this effort, a new version of the Typikon of Saint Sabbas was created.

The newly revised Typikon of Saint Sabbas became adopted widely, and by the fifteenth century had displaced both the Cathedral Office of Constantinople and the prior synthesis of the Studite Monastery, and had become the standard Typikon for all the Orthodox world. Its usage was further solidified when it was published in 1545, the first printed Typikon. It is still in widespread use among most Orthodox monastic communities, and in large swaths of Orthodoxy, including Russia.

Typikon of the Great Church of Christ

By the nineteenth century, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, headquartered at one time at Agia Sophia, The Great Church of Christ, recognized that the monastic strictures of the Typikon of Saint Sabbas, while eminently useful in a monastic or cathedral setting, were not suitable for typical parish life as experienced by most Orthodox Christians. It published a new typikon with the goal of creating an order of services that could be performed in a typical parish. Thus, The Ecclesiastical Typikon according to the Style of the Great Church of Christ - Τύπικον της εκκλησιάστικον κατα το ηυχος της του Χριστού Μεγάλης Εκκλήσιας, Tipikon Ekklisiastikon kata to ifos tis tou Christou Megalis Ekklisias (Konstantinos Protopsaltis, Constantinople, 1839) was created. Subsequent corrections and revisions were published with the new title Typikon of the Great Church of Christ - Τύπικον της του Χριστού Μεγάλης Εκκλήσιας, Tipikon tis tou Christou Megalis Ekklisias (George Violakis, Constantinople, 1888).[1] This typikon was soon adopted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and is now in use by all churches under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (for example, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) and most Greek-speaking churches (including the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus, as well as in some other Orthodox jurisdictions.[2]


  1. ^ Bogdanos, Theodore (1993), The Byzantine Liturgy: Hymnology and Order, Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver Choir Federation, p. xviii, ISBN 1-884432-00-X
  2. ^ Mother Mary and Ware, Kallistos (Timothy) (1969), The Festal Menaion (3rd printing), St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, p. 543, ISBN 1-878997-00-9

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